Laurel Wilt Disease and the Endangered Pondberry Shrub

Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia) is a rare, federally endangered shrub that’s found scattered around bottomland forests of the southeastern U.S. In late summer, the shrub produces spicy, crimson-colored fruits. Like other native Lauraceae species, its leaves give off a sweet, citrusy scent when crushed. And, like its Lauraceous brethren redbay and sassafras, pondberry is susceptible to…  More 

Pondberry Responds to Light Availability and Soil Flooding

Pondberry is endangered, but it can persist through environmental stress. It prefers partial sun but can linger in deep shade for years. It can survive long periods of soil flooding, and even flowers while it’s flooded. “All indications are that this species would benefit from active management,” says Emile Gardiner, a USDA Forest Service research…  More 

Pondberry Seeks Sunlight

Pondberry is rare and endangered, but don’t underestimate the species. “Pondberry tolerates flooded soil,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Brian Roy Lockhart. “It also tolerates living in heavy shade. It has a plasticity to light that gives managers a lot of options for improving its growth and vigor.” Pondberry occurs in several southeastern states,…  More 

Recovering from Laurel Wilt

Originally from Asia, the redbay ambrosia beetle and the fungus it carries in its jaws have found a new home in the southern United States. Eradication is impossible at this point, and the fungus causes laurel wilt, a highly destructive disease that affects redbay, swamp bay, sassafras, avocado, and pondberry – as well as every other…  More 

Pondberry Seed Fate: Animal Dispersers, Animal Predators

Although pondberry can still be found in nine southern states, it is vanishingly rare. “Pondberry is an endangered species,” says Andreza Martins. “In most states, only one or two populations of the shrub are known to exist.” Currently a forest engineer in Brazil, Martins interned at the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) in 2005…  More 

Can Pondberry Make a Comeback?

Pondberry is a rare shrub that grows in floodplain forests of the southeastern United States. Since 1986, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed pondberry as an endangered species, and it is protected by the Endangered Species Act. Because of this, one of the largest remaining pondberry colonies, which grows in the Lower Mississippi…  More